Tuesday, May 11, 2010

ABC Employees Ratify New Writers Guild East Contract

NEW YORK, May 11 (UPI) -- ABC News employees represented by the Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO have overwhelmingly ratified their new contract agreement.

The vote was 89 percent yes; 11 percent no.

The three-year contract is effective immediately and affects newswriters, editors, desk assistants, production assistants, graphic artists and researchers in national and local television and radio in New York and Washington.

"We are happy to have secured a contract that provides our members with wage increases and innovative job protections and happy they have overwhelmingly ratified this contract," Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said in a statement Monday. "Our members' ratification of this contract ensures that they will remain integral to ABC News's success as the broadcast news business transforms in the coming years."

"At a time of great uncertainty for our industry, I believe this contract represents an important step toward insuring that WGA-represented writers will continue to have a significant role in broadcasting's future, at both the local and network levels," added Al Wasser, writer for "World News with Diane Sawyer" and former head writer for "Good Morning America."

The Writers Guild of America, East, is a labor union representing professional writers in film, television and radio.

WGE members write for animation, for entertainment, for network and local news operations, for independent stations in major cities, and for any other media production companies which are signatory to Guild agreements.

Writers Guild East members tend to define themselves by the nature of their writing, the organizations by which they are employed and the contracts, or minimum basic agreements, under which they work.

Sixty-six percent of Guild East members work under Freelance contracts and minimum basic agreements as Motion Picture Screenwriters; TV Dramatic Writers; TV Episodic Series Writers; TV Daytime Serial Writers; TV and Radio Documentary and Public Affairs Writers; TV Comedy Writers; Children's TV Writers, Sitcom Writers; Animation Writers and more.
In many cases members may also be "hyphenates," which is to say they may be writer- directors, or writer-producers, or writer-actors or writer-director-producers.

Thirty-three percent of Guild East members work under Staff contracts, or collective bargaining agreements as News Writers; News Editors; Desk Assistants; Graphic Artists; Continuity Writers; On-Air Promotion Writers; Researchers; News Production Assistants; Production Assistants; News Assignment Deskpersons; Viewers; Producers.

Out of these diverse roles and many talents the Writers Guild East has forged an impressively effective organization, united in the common purpose of promoting and protecting the rofessional and artistic interests of our creative community.
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